It’s easy and typical for all of us who work in rescue to fall in love with the animals that come through our doors. Each and every one of them has a story and a unique personality all their own. Even still, there are always those few who touch our souls just a bit more than others, not because they’re better or more worthy but because there’s something in them or about them that relates so much to our own life and experiences, or teaches us an amazing and inspirational lesson at just the precise moment that we needed to learn it. Animals have a capacity for love that I can’t even comprehend. They inspire me, they give me hope, they have the openness and bravery to make connections with those around them that go beyond words, speech, even language itself.
Today was one of those amazing days in the rescue world, a day where a dog incredible beyond words, a dog who has touched the hearts of literally every single person who works or volunteers at ECPR, took that last car ride away from the rescue so she could be dropped off at her forever home.
Sweetie Pie may not be able to communicate with us humans the way we communicate with each other but she told us her story when she first arrived at the rescue in every other way. Sweetie was found as a “stray.” She had bite marks and scars all over her head and face, and still carried milk for puppies we never had the chance to see, meet or save. It was clear that wherever Sweetie came from, she suffered abuse that I can’t even stomach. I’m tearing up writing this and I’m pausing to wipe at my eyes because the thought of anyone mistreating that dog literally rips me apart inside. I have seen her strength and she has inspired me every single day since I met her.
Sweetie Pie has essentially lived in my office for several weeks. Every morning when I come in, she would get up from her bed and look up at me with a little grunt before glancing down at her bone. Her request was obvious; “Kick or throw it, please!” We would do this periodically throughout the entire day back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.. I would scratch her ears and she would close her eyes and relax into my touch. She would stand still with that enthusiastic pittie tail wagging back and forth as I scratched her back and her tushy. Sweetie is kind, wise, but with the playfulness of an innocent puppy who has never experienced a moment of cruelty and pain. But we know that’s not true.
In addition to the condition Sweetie came to us in, she has had to undergo ACL surgeries as well as treatment for her mammary tumors and spindle cell tumors. For a dog with such a high level of passion for playing, I can’t imagine how she endured the mandatory bed rest required for her legs to heal or the throwing up and weakness from her other surgeries and treatments, but no matter how hard she struggled with her physical challenges, Sweetie never let it get her down. Her enthusiasm and love for people is immeasurable. Her gentle nature as one-year-olds climbed all over her at an ECPR event was like witnessing a miracle because that was not a “dog” gently nudging the human child, but a conscious, aware living soul.
Last week Sweetie had a meet and greet. Her new daddy immediately got on the ground to meet her at her level and it was instant love for the both of them. Today we all gathered one by one for our last chance at photo ops with this courageous girl and said goodbye to her for the last time as she moved on from a rescue dog searching for her forever home to a deserving, beautiful healthy pittie getting a promise that from that moment on, she would have a forever home and family to love her for the rest of her days.
Sweetie will never be forgotten by a single one of us. She is our mascot, our inspiration, the dog we hope every other dog that comes through our doors can be inspired by in order to find the strength to rise above their pasts. Sweetie may have left our lives, but her pawprints will remain on our hearts forever.
“The first time Sweetie Pie gave me a big sloppy kiss I was so honored! I’ll miss her sweet face, her soulful eyes, and her nudge with her nose to get me to toss her toy. Good luck, Sweetie Pie. You deserve only the best!” -Mimi
“My dog, who hates every dog in the world, only ever liked one dog, and that was Sweetie Pie. Such a testament to what an amazing girl she is, to have endured what she went through and still have such a capacity for love. Not just a kennel favorite, but a front desk favorite… an office favorite… a RESCUE favorite. <3” -Chandra
“Sweetie Pie has always had this amazing glow of optimism. Even though her mysterious past that lead her to us and pnety of scars to show for it had us all wondering… “What has this girl been through?” Multiple surgeries, biopsies and long months of recovery later she continues to shine even brighter. Through every bit of it, she has always been happy to say hello to a new friend. She’s been an inspiration to keep pushing through the rough times because there is always something to smile about! Thank you Sweetie Pie for showing us how important it is to let go of the past and just focus on that bone! <3″ -Erica
“By far one of the most wonderful dogs to come through emerald city. She was just waiting for those perfect adopters to see how amazing she is!” -Erin